The 92nd birth anniversary celebrations of Harikatha legend T.S. Balakrishna Shastrigal (TSB) held at ‘Tatvaloka’ here on Sunday was marked by the CD release of his live discourse, ‘Mahabharatam’. Sinduja Ekambaram, a young Harikatha artiste commenced the evening on the right note with her rendition of Baalakrishnan paada malar, a composition of Papanasam Sivan.
TSB’s eldest son Mouli — director, writer and actor — welcomed the gathering and touched upon the family’s constant quest for the artiste's live recordings. His other son, creative director S.B. Khanthan spoke of the process behind the release of the CD ‘Mahabharatam’ — 23 hours of live discourse by Balakrishna Shastrigal. He lauded the efforts of nonagenarian Sivaramakrishnan for having preserved the spool tapes of the live discourse from the 1960s that spanned 12 days. The recording was then carefully embellished and digitised by well-known audiographer and musician Raghunathan.
The CD, mastered and marketed by Swathi Sanskriti Series, was released by Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Judge, Madras High Court and the first copy was received by Padma Vibushan Awardee, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman.
Speaking on the occasion, the Hon. Justice recalled TSB's resonant voice, his classical style of singing, the hearty narration laced with a subtle sense of humour. He also highlighted the urgent need to reach good values to children of this generation.
Mr. Sivaraman traced the evolution of Harikatha over the century and listed the giants in this art form as also the qualities required to perform Harikatha. He named TSB as a glittering part of that list with all the necessary qualities in the right measure.
A discourse on the Srimad Bhagavatam and Narayaneeyam by Upanyasa Chakravarti Srivatsa S. Jayarama Sharma on Rukmani Kalyanam followed. He was accompanied by his son J. Balasubramanian. The event was anchored by Shravanthi Mouli and Dvijavanthi Khanthan, grand-daughters of TSB.